Axel-In-Charge: Unmasking the "Totally Awesome Hulk"
You know you’ve created something special when the fanbase starts marketing for you.
Sure there’s the fans that get folks pumped up through general word-of-mouth hype and excitement, but then there are the ones who go above and beyond — fans like mechanical engineer Darian Robbins, whose mock magazine covers for Marvel Studios’ upcoming “Black Panther” film have become a viral hit.
Superheroes sprang from the era of pulp icons like The Phantom and Doc Savage, and now cartoonist Chris Schweizer has some of today’s most popular costumed characters back to their roots.
In a project undertaken just for fun, the creator of The Crogan Adventures imagined some of the Avengers and X-Men as they might’ve appeared in the 1920s and 1930s in a series called “Marvel Pulp.”
“People clamor for Black Panther or Luke Cage, and the incredible response when the Static show was announced — that wasn’t just black fans going ‘yay, about time.’ That was fans going, ‘yay, about time.’ Everyone knows diversity is good. We want black superheroes, we want female superheroes, we want Latino superheroes. That makes things better. And they don’t have to be sidekicks or buddies, they can be rock stars themselves.”
— Reginald Hudlin, in an interview with Comic Book Resources, discussing the Static Shock live-action digital series, and the desire for diversity in superhero-comics adaptations
It was exciting Tuesday when Marvel Studios unveiled its Phase Three plans, with nine feature films, including Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman, and Captain Marvel, featuring the Carol Danvers version. However, amid the enthusiasm, there was some hand-wringing.
Are we about to be oversaturated with superheroes? Is the movie-going public going to get sick of capes and tights? Are superhero movies a fad that will go the way of the Western?
Between Marvel, Warner Bros., Fox and Sony, there are more than 30 superhero movies planned between next year and 2020. An average of five movies a year will be released, peaking in 2016 and 2016, with eight films each. No doubt more announcements will follow as we make our way through the decade.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed. Immediately after Tuesday’s press event, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was asked if he was concerned about the increasing number of superhero films. He pointed out that it’s “a challenge we’ve faced for many, many years.”
All 13 characters have been revealed for The Marvel Experience interactive tour, and at least a couple may surprise you.
As depicted in the above image, debuted by Yahoo, the usual suspects — Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk — will be joined by Wolverine, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, The Vision, She-Hulk, Iron Fist and Black Panther.
“This is the only place you’ll see them together, and we’re proud of that,” Rick Licht, CEO of tour producer Hero Ventures, is quoted as saying. That’s in part because the film rights to Wolverine and Spider-Man are held by Fox and Sony, respectively.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
In some ways, this is the best of times and the worst of times for those who are interested in bringing comics to a broader audience. As the hubbub died down over Milo Manara’s Spider-Woman cover, another story went viral, about a comic shop where an employee allegedly made a crude joke about a “rape room” and then fired a trainee who complained about it. While debate continues to rage over what exactly happened there (the store owner denies it), Bloomberg did a big story on how the number of women comics readers is growing and becoming an ever more important sector of the industry.
With this in mind, I want to call out three things that happened this week.
The first is Gene Luen Yang’s speech at the National Book Festival. First of all, it’s impressive that a comics creator is given such a prominent platform at an event that isn’t actually focused on comics. What Yang had to say was even more impressive. He spoke about the African-American creator Dwayne McDuffie, whose love of comics first caught fire when he encountered the Black Panther, a black character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Black Panther wasn’t perfect, but, Yang said,
All of these flaws were lost on Dwayne McDuffie when he first encountered the Black Panther in 1973, at the age of 11. What struck him was the character’s commanding sense of dignity. The Black Panther wasn’t anyone’s sidekick. He wasn’t an angry thug. He wasn’t a victim. He was his own hero, his own man. As Dwayne describes it, “In the space of 15 pages, black people moved from invisible to inevitable.”
While we’ve certainly seen a number of fan films featuring Superman, Judd Dredd and the Bat-family (the Dark Knight, Batgirl, Nightwing, the Gotham villains, etc.), I think this is the first one I’ve seen starring Black Panther.
The brainchild of D.A. Jackson, who wrote, directed and starred, Storms of Carnage: The Black Panther Unleashed is an extremely violent — as “Storms of Carnage” may suggest — “real-world” take on the Marvel character that’s part political/crime thriller, part no-holds-barred martial-arts film. (Seriously, the last half isn’t safe for work, or possibly for the squeamish.)
Speaking of billionaire heroes: U.K. loan site Buddy Loans has employed scientific research (Wikipedia, Marvel.com, etc.) to arrive at a rundown of “The World’s Richest Superheroes” … which also includes villains. But never mind that: It’s actually a pretty fun chart that’s topped by not Bruce Wayne or Lex Luthor, but rather by Black Panther, whose estimated worth of $500 billion – billion — leaves everyone else in his dust.
As king of Wakanda (not “Wakanada”) T’Challa controls the world’s supply of Vibranium, which accounts for most of his wealth. By contrast, fellow head of state Victor Von Doom possesses only about $35 billion; on the plus side, he also has his own time machine and robot army, so maybe it all evens out.
Bow before Doom’s entry below, and see the rest at Buddy Loans.
We’re living in an age where increasing aspects of our comics heritage is being protected, with all manner of work coming back into print in fittingly deluxe packages. However, we can all think of great comics that will probably never be reprinted, for various obscure reasons. For example, all manner of great work published by Marvel and DC in the 1970s and ’80s will never see the light of day again due to lapsed licensing deals. Other titles, other creators, simply fall from fashion, to await rediscovery by another generation. Others still end up in complicated rights battles and litigation.
One field of comics-related work that seems to be just lost to the unrelenting march of time and progress is that of the pre-Internet fanzine. Many significant figures in comics history contributed text and art to this near-dead medium, and it’s hard to see any organization having the will to invest in researching, reprinting or digitizing this lost legacy.
Colin Smith is a blogger and the author of Sequart’s “Shameless? The Superhero Comics of Mark Millar,” and as a critic has written about comics for some of the United Kingdom’s top magazines. He has a secondary blog where he has been recently sharing some great art from old U.K. fanzines and convention booklets.
To see what Greg and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Happy Father’s Day and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Today’s guests are two of the contributors to Skullkickers #18, which features several “Tavern Tales” short stories by different creative teams. Joining us today are Charles Soule of 27, Strange Attractors and Strongman fame, and Aubrey Sitterson, winner of the Skullkickers Tavern Tales Contest. He’s also the writer of Gear Monkey for Double Feature Comics and community manager for WWE Games.
To see what Charles, Aubrey and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Comics | The Greenville County (South Carolina) Library has removed two copies of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’ Neonomicon from its shelves after a mother filed an official challenge to the collection’s sexual content. Carrie Gaske said that although her 14-year-old daughter found the horror book in the adult section, she thought “it looked like a children’s comic,” and would be fine for her to check out. Daughter Jennifer soon discovered Neonomicon wasn’t the “murder mystery comic book” her mother believed it to be. “It was good at first,” she said. “Then it got nasty.” How “nasty”? “The more into I got the more shocked I was, I really had no idea this type of material was allowed at a public library,” Carrie Gaske said. “I feel that has the same content of Hustler or Playboy or things like that. Maybe even worse.”
The library allows children age 13 and older to check out books from the adult section with their parents’ permission. The library system’s two copies of Neonomicon have been removed from circulation while a committee reviews the content. [WSPA.com]
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d grab the latest Lio collection, Zombies Need Love Too. Cartoonist Mark Tatulli has one of the better newspaper comic strips going these days.
If I had $30, I’d nab what is clearly the book of the week, NonNonBa, the latest book from Shigeru Mizuki, author of Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths. NonNonBa aims more toward Mizuki’s traditional milieu of Japanese folklore and yokai monsters, though this book is more autobiographical in nature in that it deals with his relationship with his grandmother and how she instilled in him an interest in the spirit world. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this release.
My splurge for the week would likely be one of two books from First Second: Either Baby’s in Black, Arne Bellstorf’s fictionalized tale of the sadly doomed Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, or Mastering Comics, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden’s follow-up to their previous how-to textbook, Drawing Words, Writing Pictures.
Hello and welcome to a special holiday edition of What Are You Reading? Actually it’s just a normal edition of What Are You Reading?, because changing the font color to red and green, and adding twinkling lights around the border just made it harder to read.
Our special guest this week is Andy Khouri, associate editor over at ComicsAlliance, where he drops comic news and commentary on a daily basis.
To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Even as Comic Book Resources reports the cancellation of Ghost Rider, a preview of Marvel’s February solicitations reveals Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive will end with Issue 529.
Spinning out of the publisher’s “Shadowland” event, the title launched in December 2010 as Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, picking up the issue numbering of the ending Daredevil as T’Challa became the new guardian of Hell’s Kitchen. The series was written by award-winning mystery author David Liss (A Conspiracy of Paper, The Ethical Assassin), joined by such artists as Francesco Francavilla, Shawn Martinbrough and Michael Avon Oeming.
The solicitation text for Issue 529 teases, “Kingpin vs. T’Challa in this status-quo changing series finale,” raising the possibility that Black Panther could relaunch, or revert to a previous title and numbering. However, October sales estimates place the series at about 18,000 copies, below Marvel’s traditional line of death, and less than the just-canceled X-23 and Ghost Rider.
Those titles join a rapidly growing list of recent Marvel cancellations that includes Alpha Flight, Victor Von Doom, Destroyers, Iron Man 2.0 and All-Winners Squad. In addition, PunisherMAX concludes in February with Issue 22.
Update (1:12 p.m. PT): Liss has commented on Twitter, writing, “Sadly the news is true. Our Black Panther run ends in February with #529. But keep reading until the end. It’s going to be a wild ride!”